At four national marathon events in October 2011, the National Hospice Foundation’s Run to Remember athletic fundraising program saw 168 runners raise more than $130,000 in support of hospice care.
October’s events began with runners traversing the Bourbon Trail for the third running of the Bourbon Chase Relay (Oct. 7 – 8) covering 200 miles amidst the hills of Kentucky. Eight teams of 12 athletes each were running on behalf of National Hospice Foundation’s Run to Remember.
As the Bourbon Chase teams crossed the finish line, they were greeted by 40 hospice volunteers from Lexington’s own Hospice of the Bluegrass proudly welcoming them in and thanking the team members who raised over $46,000.
The day after the Bourbon Chase, attention moved north to the Windy City for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, the second largest marathon in the country. A team of 12 marathoners participated in support of Run to Remember and raised more than $24,000 for hospice.
The Nationwide Insurance Columbus Marathon (10/21/11) enjoyed the special distinction of being this year’s National Hospice Foundation National Memorial Race, a new designation highlighting one marathon per year as a special hospice effort.
NHF Executive Director John Mastrojohn, III, was invited to help start the sold-out race in Columbus that brought 17,000 runners and walkers to Ohio. Staff and volunteers from six Columbus area hospice programs lined the route, cheering on runners and walkers, and showing their pride for hospice.
“The Columbus Marathon, our National Memorial Race, was an excellent example of how hospices benefit from Run to Remember, over and above the money that’s raised,” Mastrojohn remarked. “Our RTR team had more than 30 runners and walkers who brought in well over $10,000 but the amount of goodwill and awareness of hospice that was raised was immeasurable.”
The 36th annual Marine Corps Marathon (10/29/11) saw 21,250 runners following a 26-mile course through the nation’s capital and along the banks of the Potomac River. Runners came within a couple miles of the National Hospice Foundation’s home at the national Center for Care at the End of Life. Among them were 30 hospice heroes, proudly running under the banner of NHF’s Run to Remember program.
These athletes and hospice supporters gathered at a reception at the National Center the evening before the race. Even the evening before the race they had reason to celebrate, before the marathon began this RTR team had raised nearly $50,000 – a record for a RTR Marine Corps Marathon team.
Notable among the team were NHF Trustee Eleanor Blayney who raised $24,000 designated for NHF’s campaign for the National Center for Care at the End of Life as well as ultra-marathoner Jim Smith. Smith ran a “victory lap” at the Marine Corp Marathon, capping his series of endurance races this summer that raised more than $13,000 for We Honor Veterans – a pioneering program helping hospices better serve our nation’s Veterans at life’s end.
“Four marathons, 168 runners and untold number of hospice volunteers raised more than $130,000 for NHF’s Run to Remember. These are not only funds to support the critically important work hospice is doing to help those at the end of life’s journey but it raised awareness and helped fuel the passion we share for compassionate care,” added Mastrojohn.
To learn more about Run to Remember or make a donation in support of a specific runner, please visit http://www.runtoremember.org/.